Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan


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Bryce Stoltz: From Injured to Honors, an Admirable Comeback

Photo contributed by WSU Athletics Website.
Bryce Stoltz joined the Warriors in 2021 with a major in nursing.

Many years ago in Highlands Ranch, Colo., a young girl began her journey in gymnastics that would follow her throughout the many stages of her life. Sixteen years later, Bryce Stoltz found herself at Winona State University, competing nationally and achieving goals she had only dreamed about as a girl.

Hopping from gym to gym, Stoltz struggled to find the right environment and support to continue with a sport she had already put so much time and dedication into. It wasn’t until a club gym caught her attention that she regained her love for gymnastics, which would lead to her pursuit of it for another four years at the collegiate level.

“I experienced several injuries that created setbacks and doubts that I would make it to the college level,” she said. “Through it all, my dedication to the sport never wavered. I got the opportunity to contribute to a team in college and I can look back at all those hours in the gym and say it was worth it.”

Now, she thrives in the Warrior environment, putting on her best performance for every competition she is a part of while simultaneously working extensively to be the best student possible.

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As a part of the nursing program, Stoltz finds joy in the clinical setting where she learns plenty of valuable skills for her future career. On the team, she has gained a family away from home, one which she knows she can rely on. On the mat, she has watched the gymnastics program grow into something spectacular.

Personal growth has also been significant for Stoltz, especially after a setback caused her to fall slightly behind in competition last season.

“A year ago, Bryce suffered a serious elbow injury and was unable to compete at all,” Isabella Kropiwiec, a fellow Warrior said. “She has gone through surgery, physical therapy, mental setbacks, and hard days but she never gave up, and that is what makes champions.”

Stoltz was determined to get back to where she left off when her injury occurred, setting goals for herself such as competing in the all-around event and qualifying for nationals once again, both of which she successfully met resulting in a comeback that left her even stronger, and more confident than she was before.

Alongside this newfound confidence, her time in gymnastics has also improved her resiliency, support, and leadership.

“I have always wanted to be a role model for others, and I feel like my leadership has probably improved the most,” Stoltz said. “I lead with my actions and I feel that I promote good qualities and goals.”

Still, as most athletes can contend, she has acknowledged that there is room to improve. Specifically, she hopes to learn not to be so hard on herself and avoid putting unnecessary pressure on herself. Amid competitions, it is easy to lose sight of how far she has come and focus solely on what could be better. After all, small accomplishments are just as worthy of celebration as big wins are.

With just one year left, she has certainly begun to become a lasting role model for the younger members of the team.

“Working alongside Bryce in the gym has truly been inspiring. She is the most humble, well-rounded person and athlete, and she works extremely hard,” Madysen Diskerud, a first-year performer said. “Watching Bryce compete, and practice inspires me to work hard and motivates me to be just like her.”

From her upperclassmen, she is learning to step into the leadership role as they prepare to move on. Having the most experience on the team, she will motivate and inspire her teammates as they learn to perform in collegiate competitions.

Stoltz has had immense success this season, heading to the National Collegiate Gymnastics Association (NCGA) national championships and taking first for her performance on the beam, earning NCGA All-American Honors.

Overall, her success was well-deserved after persevering through an injury and joining the team once more at full force. There is no doubt her last season as a Warrior will result in great accomplishments for herself and her team.

“Achieving this accomplishment has felt unreal,” Stoltz said. “This is something that I will never forget, and I will always look back and be so proud of how far I came and how much work went into this.”

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About the Contributor
Kailey Doeseckle
Kailey Doeseckle, Sports Editor

Kailey Doeseckle (she/her/hers) is the Sports Editor for the Winonan as of fall 2023. Doeseckle is currently in her third year at Winona State University, majoring in Criminal Justice: Corrections and Justice Services with a minor in Psychology.

In addition to working for the Winonan, Doeseckle is also a part of the Wenonah Players club. She participates in their theatre productions as both an actress and a crew member.

Outside of university, Doeseckle loves to spend time with her roommates binge-watching their favorite shows, dancing to music, and singing quite off-key to musicals.  She also enjoys watching movies, creative writing, and board games. Doeseckle also loves meaningless drives to blast all her favorite songs, and spending lots of time outside in fall weather.

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